Michelle Rodriguez Says Liam Neeson Can't Possibly Be Racist Because of How He Kissed Viola Davis in 'Widows'
By Antoinette Bueno
Michelle Rodriguez is sticking up for Liam Neeson, after the 66-year-old actor came under fire for a recent interview in which he says that he became obsessed with revenge more than 40 years ago, when he went out looking for a black man to kill after a close friend told him she was raped by a black man.
At the amfAR Gala in New York on Wednesday, Rodriguez passionately defended Neeson and said he couldn't be a racist based on how he kissed his Widows co-star, Viola Davis, on screen. Davis and Neeson played a married couple in the 2018 heist film directed by Steve McQueen, in which Rodriguez also starred.
“It’s all f**king bullsh*t," Rodriguez told Vanity Fair. "Liam Neeson is not a racist. Dude, have you watched Widows? His tongue was so far down Viola Davis’ throat. You can’t call him a racist, ever. Racists don’t make out with the race that they hate, especially in the way he does with his tongue -- so deep down her throat. I don’t care how good of an actor you are."
"It’s all bullsh*t," she continued. "Ignore it. He’s not a racist. He’s a loving man. It’s all lies.”
On Tuesday night, the red carpet at the New York City premiere of Neeson's film, Cold Pursuit, was canceled. Neeson has been facing backlash since his controversial interview with The Independent to promote his new film, in which he shared a shocking story with the British publication about revenge.
"There's something primal -- God forbid you've ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions," he said. "I'll tell you a story, this is true. She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way. But my immediate reaction was... I asked, did she know who it was? No. 'What color were they?' She said it was a black person."
"I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody," he continued. "I'm ashamed to say that -- and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black b*****d' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could... kill him. ... It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I've never admitted that, and I'm saying it to a journalist. God forbid."
During his appearance on Good Morning America on Tuesday, Neeson vehemently denied being racist, telling co-host Robin Roberts, "I’m not racist. This was nearly 40 years ago, and because I was brought up in the North of Ireland and brought up in the Troubles, the ‘60s, ‘70s, and early ‘80s, there was a war going on in the North of Ireland, and I had acquaintances who were involved in the Troubles, the bigotry. One Catholic would be killed, the next day a Protestant would be killed. One Catholic pub would be bombed and then a Protestant pub bombed. I grew up around that, but was never part of it.”
He also said he would definitely have the same reaction if his friend told him she had been attacked by a white man.
“If she said Irish, Scot, a Brit, I know I would have the same effect," he said. "I was trying to show honor to stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion. I’m a fairly intelligent guy, that’s why it kind of shocked me, and then I came down to Earth after having these horrible feelings. Luckily, no violence occurred ever. Thank god.”
Neeson noted that he hopes his confession will lead others to "talk about things" and deal with their anger in a non-violent manner.
“We all pretend we are politically correct," he said. "In this country, sometimes you just scratch the surface and discover this racism and bigotry and it’s there."